Last week I went to another PopUp Britex. The first one I attended was about textiles. This one was a leather workshop, with Melissa Fleis, an SF fashion designer known for being on Project Runway Season 10. It was at THE NWBLK, a gallery and workspace. I hadn’t been inside before, although I often ride past their big black warehouse door. Being nosy, I peeped around a bit before the workshop started and saw some really interesting furniture and lighting in their display space.
The workshop started with Melissa giving a bit of her background and a discussion of why she loves working with leather. She walked us through the the supplies available to us, and then gave a demonstration of cutting out a rectangle of fabric using a pattern, marking the leather, punching holes for stitching, and assembling a clutch.
Britex supplied a lovely burgundy cow hide for us. They also had several other hides on display, which I found interesting as I hadn’t though of Britex as supplying leather. Melissa talked about the different types of leather available and showed us a sample of boar hide. Many people were surprised to learn that kangaroo is the strongest leather available, but I actually knew that from checking out motorcycle gear.
Being the type not to follow directions, I didn’t actually use the rectangular pattern that Melissa had prepared and instead cut my clutch from the edge of the hide so that I could have a more organic shape on the free edge. I punched holes in the sides of the clutch so that I could whip-stitch it together by hand. I debated about what closure to use, but at the urging of Sharman, the owner of Britex who happens to dislike D-rings, I decided to sew on a strip of leather that can be wrapped around a large button.
I had thought I would stop into Britex to pick out the perfect bone or wood buttons to match the leather, but I looked through my stash first and found that I had this lovely pair of vintage fabric covered buttons that add just the right bit of quirky personality for my taste. I’m excited to have this pretty new clutch to carry and excited to have some more skills for working with leather!